Test Kitchen's Favorite Baked Potato

classic baked potato on plate
Photo: Sidney Bensimon
Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 25 mins

Our ultimate baked potato recipe produces potatoes with tender, fluffy flesh and crisp, flavorful skin. Starting with the right potato, a russet, is key; they have a high starch content which means they yield a softer center than waxier varieties. From there, follow our easy method for baking a potato. Then, enjoy while it's piping hot—serve it simply with sour cream and chives or with one of our loaded variations, like the BLT baked potato.


  • 4 russet potatoes (about 2 ½ pounds)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Unsalted butter, sour cream, and chopped chives, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry potatoes. Prick each in a few spots with a fork. Brush with oil and season with salt.

  2. Place potatoes directly on rack and bake until soft and easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, depending on size. Remove from oven.

  3. Grab a hot potato with a clean kitchen towel and bang it down firmly on the counter once to fluff up the flesh. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Cut open, season generously with salt and pepper, and top with butter, sour cream, and chives.

Cook's Notes

When buying potatoes, look for firm russets that are heavy for their size, with a smooth surface and even complexion. Potatoes with eyes, dark spots, or a greenish hue are old and should not be used.

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